(This blog entry eventually grew too big to be absorbed in one sitting, so it was necessary to break it up into parts, sorry for any inconvenience)
This entry was prompted by a recent news article about Jack Thompson, notorious lawyer and part-time politician known for his unwavering, if misguided, battle against "harmful influences" to minors, including movies and video games. The article stated that Mr. Thompson posted an open letter to Bono, headman of the band U2 and possible buyer of the software publisher Take Two. For those that don't know, Take Two is responsible for publishing such games as, you guessed it, Grand Theft Auto, a title repeatedly heralded as the single largest contributor to anti-social behavior in young adults.
Here is a portion of the letter:
I write you as a fellow brother in Jesus Christ, appreciative of your bold witness to the transforming truth of the Gospel, in both your words and your deeds. You daily "fight the good fight," serving Him as salt and as light in an unbelieving world. You inspire other Christians to confront the "culture of death" that surrounds us all, and I thank you. Because of what you do, it is easier for me to do what I have been called to do.
I write to encourage you, respectfully and in a spirit of brotherly love, not to purchase Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. . . .
Bono, whom are you going to believe as you make a decision whether to buy Take-Two? Are you going to believe the liars who got caught lying, or are you going to believe a fellow believer in Christ who has been targeted for actual harm by Take-Two and its dissembling Philadelphia lawyers at Blank Rome? . . .
I am trying to keep you, dear brother, from being run over by a careening bus. I do this to help you. A brother in Christ has now warned you. Now, do the right thing, in His powerful name I pray.
In Jesus Christ, Jack Thompson"
I'm writing this blog basically for two reasons: One - as a reputed video gamer myself I feel the need to defend my hobby and the companies that support my hobby; and Two - To convey my strong distaste for Mr. Thompson's methods and tactics in trying to convince people to see his viewpoint.
Now, I am neither a politically active person nor a religiously active person; in fact, this one example pretty much exemplifies WHY I am neither. This one man embodies the very worst of BOTH entities, the double-standards and hypocrisy of a slimy underhanded corrupt politician/lawyer, and the fanatical Bible-thumping brainwashings of a religious zealot. The fact that this man is still around spewing his absurd accusations after years and years of being humiliated in the public eye is surprising to me. Need a sampling of his purported crusade against indecency? Go to www.wikipedia.com and type Jack Thompson. Enough said.
So what exactly does he have against video games? Well, besides a majority of them containing indecent and violent content (content which, mind you, is equally prevalent in today's movies, tv shows, commercials, music, news reports, magazine ads, etc.) It turns out video games kill. Oh yes, according to Mr Thompson, video games are linked to several deaths across the globe, and therefore must be eradicated from the face of the earth. These deaths occurred either by violent or antisocial behavior being mimicked in real life by players of a game, or directly to the player by suicidal tendencies inflicted by stress over a game, or by physical stress of prolonged gameplay in excess of several hours.
To put it simply, there are those that feel that video games are greatly contributing to the moral decline of today's society, and must be censored, regulated, or altogether removed from store shelves. This of course goes against every anti-censorship movement's belief that the government should mind it's own business when it comes to the media we enjoy. But even beyond that, its such a ridiculous accusation to say that a game is responsible for a person's actions, just as it's preposterous to blame a movie for a crime committed while imitating a scene. The bottom line is this: These people are unstable to begin with, and are just as prone to commit a crime after watching an episode of "The Simpsons" as anything else. The fact that these things are linked to video games, a typically shunned activity in the grown-up responsible circles of society, is as factitious as blaming Ozzy Osbourne for a fan's suicide back in the 80s. Removing the catalyst will not necessarily remove the danger; the person will simply find some other outlet for his malevolent ways. And of course, the reverse is also true... There have been plenty of psycho-bastard characters from our history doing naughty things well before any of Mr. Thompson's suspects ever hit the streets: admittedly I'm not up on my history facts, but I'm pretty darned sure Hitler never played video games, Genghis Khan never listened to gangsta rap, and Vlad the Impaler never saw a Quentin Tarrantino movie.
And would you look at that.... these people are more horrendous and evil than anything you'll ever see in today's age... so what does THAT tell you?
Part two will discuss the sheer stupidity of a campaign against video games, and asks the question, "What is the REAL threat??" Stay tuned.